Recently I was invited to an event called Girls Night In at Aluna.
Promising a glimpse of the popular cocktail menu as well as access to the latest jewellery collection from Stella & Dot, I braved the autumnal monsoon and headed to the Mailbox with some fellow bloggers.
I like Aluna (owned by the same folk behind Siamais in Brindleyplace) and it’s become a semi-regular point of call for my girlfriends and I when we’re looking for quirky cocktails in the city. Offering smoke, fire and theatrics at the bar (all mixed drinks now seem to come with some form of gimmick?) there’s a book brimming with Instagram-worthy cocktails to choose from.
The enthusiastic bartenders not only let us test run some of Aluna’s most popular cocktails, but also encouraged us behind the bar to make some. This involved some dry ice and me almost setting someone on fire at one point (I bring my own theatrics, innit) but thankfully we all survived and returned to the right side of the bar with drinks to sip. As far as I’m aware all eyebrows were also intact.
First up to be created by our fair (crap) hands was the Mangolian £7.95, a fruity number packing a mango kick. It’s a long drink with a big fruity juice flavour; ideal if you like that sort of cocktail. Sadly, for me, it was far too sweet but I enjoyed watching the talented bar manager work his magic.
Next I took my place behind the bar and, following much advice and vague encouragement from my friends, created the Lava Lamp (£7.95) which bubbled and frothed like an excited kid at Christmas. I may have overdone the dry ice (and the posh gin, according to my new best pal behind the bar) but it looked cracking and tasted good.
After the masterclass we were treated to a variety of cocktails made by the bar team. The Aluna Secret Concoction (£8.95) was akin to a boozy strawberry milkshake – initially enjoyable but a little sickly – and on request we had some decent Margaritas (£7.95) to finish the evening with a kick.
During the event the bartenders also made sure to show us the best of the sharers page of the cocktail menu, creating the Asian Infusion (£22); a sharing goblet for 2-3 people. We also enjoyed a jazzy fire and smoke floor show via the Rum Punch Sharer – I shamefully don’t know much about this (too many Lava Lamps) other than it was in a flaming skull and looked rather fabulous.
Aluna is a beautiful open plan space – combining a restaurant area with a main bar – and feels both warm and vaguely gothic thanks to the crushed velvet furnishings and dark wood. (And smoking cauldrons..) The walls are covered in framed jewels, fabulous mirrors and retro art pieces to check out too.
I haven’t actually eaten in the canal side bar come eatery yet, but we were treated to mini versions of the starters and sides at the event, which provided an excellent opportunity to get a taster of what the latest menu may provide.
The main menu has a Pan-Asian influence for sure, offering Thai inspired dishes as well as small plates to share. We tried a sample of dishes during the evening, with the Lamb Massaman Curry being a highlight. Other taster plates included Baked Seabass and Sesame & Soy Chicken Wings, but I’d like to venture back to try the full menu.
The Stella & Dot collection we saw on the night also gave me some much needed Christmas inspiration. S&D offers boutique-style accessories for high street prices which is ideal – you can check them out online.
Have you visited Aluna? Do you like the cocktails? Let me know in the comments
Aluna, Mailbox, 128-130 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RQ
Disclosure: I visited Aluna as a guest of Delicious PR and food and drink was complementary. Opinions and photos are mine and I was not obligated to write about the event